Vascular Ring—Child

Definition

A vascular ring is a defect of the aorta and nearby large vessels. The aorta is the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the body. When the aorta and nearby large vessels form in abnormal positions, the trachea and esophagus can become constricted by the “ring” formed by these abnormal vessels. Examples of this type of defect include:
  • Double aortic arch
  • Right aortic arch
While vascular ring may be detected in infancy, it is often discovered later in life.
Heart and Aortic Arch
BP00015 96472 1 aorta.jpg
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Causes

Vascular ring is present at birth. It is not known exactly why the heart does not develop normally.

Risk Factors

Specific risk factors for vascular ring are not known.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary and can range from mild to severe. They may include:
  • Trouble breathing (wheezing, coughing, noisy breathing)
  • Lung infections
  • Poor feeding of solid food (vomiting or choking)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Acid reflux
These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these, tell the doctor right away.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Imaging tests evaluate the heart and other structures. These may include:An electrocardiogram (EKG) is used to measure the heart's electrical activity.

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